Some investors prefer to focus on fundamental analysis while others prefer technical analysis. Still others prefer to use a combination of the two analysis styles. This is where Tickeron falls, using both analysis styles. In our opinion, technical factors tend to have a greater influence over the short term while fundamentals are more important over the long run.
Sometimes we see stocks with good fundamentals that enter a downward trend and have a hard time breaking out of it. That is what happened with computer hardware manufacturer NetApp (NTAP). NetApp peaked up near $82 back in September ’18—the prices on the chart below are adjusted for dividend payments. The downward cycle started and over time a trend channel formed that defined the different cycles within the overall downward trend. The stock would eventually hit a low of $33.50 back in March.
The rally off of the March low has moved NetApp back above $60 and it appears that the most recent pop has moved the stock out of the downwardly sloped channel it was caught in for two years.
I have written about NetApp several times over the last few years and I can tell you that the fundamental indicators have been good during this whole time—even as the stock was trending lower. From an article I wrote in November ’18, I can tell you that the company was averaging EPS growth of 21% per year and was expected to see earnings grow by 24% in fiscal 2019.
NetApp’s profitability measurements at the time were impressive. The return on equity was 40.6% and the profit margin was at 19.6%. The operating margin was at 17.15% back then and that was above average compared to other companies.
Flash forward to the current readings and we see that the ROE is at 141.7%, the profit margin is at 20.9%, and the operating margin is 16.6%. These are all still at very impressive levels and instead of a P/E ratio up at 94 like it was in 2018, the P/E ratio is under 20 now.
The decline in the stock caused the sentiment to shift from a slightly bearish position to an extremely bearish position over the last two years. From the article in 2018 I can tell you that there were 29 analysts following the stock with 14 “buy” ratings, 13 “hold” ratings, and two “sell” ratings. At this time there are 27 analysts covering the stock with eight “buy” ratings, 17 “hold” ratings, and two “sell” ratings. The buy percentage dropped from 48.3% to 29.6%.
Short sellers have also increased their bearish posture. In November ’18 the short interest ratio was 3.89 and now it is 8.4. The average short interest ratio falls in the 3.0 range, so the reading from two years ago was slightly higher than average and the current reading is tremendously higher than average.
In addition to the factors listed above, TIckeron's AI platform found additional bullish signals for the stock.